Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure DE-2020-21/1150 – Updated – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 22 May 2020 – 31 December 2022|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Remuneration and rewards for workers in essential services
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||17 September 2020 (updated 08 November 2023)|
Health care workers in residential and ambulant care for the elderly work under enormous individual constraints as far as working time, the need for social distancing in their leisure time and their risk of infections is concerned. They have been praised as essential service workers and people applauded them in public. But their remuneration is a matter of long standing concern. Public employers play a role in elderly care; the sector is dominated by not-for-profit organsiations and, increasingly, by private employers. Collective bargaining coverage of private companies is very low; a sectoral collective agreement covering private care homes is not in place. A decade ago, government obliged public, not-for profit employers and private business organisations to take part in a statutory sectoral minimum wage commission for at least settling a nation-wide minimum wage for assistant care workers.
In fall, several social welfare organisations set up a new employer organisation, BVAP, for settling a multi-employer agreements that is extended by the federal labour minister. A sectoral wage agreement is still not reached (as of September 2020) but in April 2020 BVAP and the United Services Union ver.di agreed on COVID-19 premia for health care workers - under the condition that the state carries most of the cost of the premium.
The funding became a matter of policy concerns afterwards.
In April, BVAP and ver.di settled an agreement stipulating an one-time COVID-19 premium of €1,500 for workers in elderly care under the condition that employers receive public support for paying the premium. In consequence, the funding of the premium became a matter of public policy debate between the federal minister for health and the public health insurance funds. In the Second Act on Protection in the COVID-19 crisis from May 2020, government stipulates that all workers - including assistant and auxiliary workers - in elderly care have a right to a COVID-19 premium of €1,000 maximum. Full-time workers shall receive €1,000, part timers shall receive less depending on the hours worked. Employers do not have to pay the premium during the crisis as the public care insurance fund will provide an advance payment of €1,000 for each worker. The public and private employers may add an additional €500 to reach a total of €1,500.
According to the federal government a total of one billion euros will be made available from the federal budget for the payment of the care bonus. Hospitals in which more than ten Corona patients were ventilated for longer than 48 hours in 2021 will receive €500 million to pay out the one-off payment. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, this is 837 hospitals in Germany. The individual bonus amount depends on the total number of those entitled to the bonus in the hospitals. Another €500 million will finance the bonus for elderly care workers who have worked in a nursing home for at least three months between November 2020 and the end of June 2022. The bonus is paid by the employer where one is employed on 30 June 2022.
Workers in care facilities
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative|
|Form||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal||Unknown|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Collective bargaining partners are involved in the designing of the measure but neither in the implementation nor in the monitoring. In case of BVAP all member organisations agree to implement the agreed measure.
The trade union is satisfied that the premium could be reached at all but finds the premium too low and insufficient to compensate health care workers for their work load and constraints. Moreover it does not solve the problem of low pay.
Verdi runs a campaign for a pay rise and better working conditions for health care staff and cooperates in new alliances with various different groups of actors - worker representatives, non-unionised health care workers, organisations representing patients and the elderly, concerned citizens.
The employers agree with the public insurance funds funding the premium.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities||Q86 Human health activities|
|Q87 Residential care activities|
|Q88 Social work activities without accommodation|
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
|Health associate professionals|
Eurofound (2020), Premia for care workers in elderly care, measure DE-2020-21/1150 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-21_1150.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.